TriMet names new chief operating officer

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Portland, Oregon’s TriMet named Samuel (Sam) Desue Jr. as its new Chief Operating Officer, where he will lead the agency’s Transportation, Maintenance, IT, and Safety & Security divisions.

Desue brings more than 22 years of public and private transportation experience, including Kansas City where he moved up through the ranks at Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), starting as director, transportation, in 2013, while also serving as COO, interim GM, and most recently, deputy CEO.

In his leadership roles at KCATA, Desue set priorities for the agency, developed a five-year strategic plan; improved on-time performance; promoted industry best practices and technologies to benefit the customer experience; implemented a safety/security task force; and forged strong partnerships with community and business groups, first responders, and city leaders.

Prior to Kansas City, Desue worked at both Pierce Transit and Community Transit in Washington, where he directed transportation services. He also oversaw ground transportation at SeaTac International Airport, as well as operations at Seattle Monorail.

In his five years at Pierce Transit, where he moved up from sr. transportation manager to VP, transportation services, Desue helped redesign a 30-year old transit route system to better address travel patterns. He also reduced operating costs, improved productivity, established employee training and support programs, implemented a new radio system and Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location system, and grew customer satisfaction.  

Desue will begin his role as TriMet’s COO on March 18.